As we’ve seen lately it’s getting harder and harder to protect your online privacy. Between Facebook and a seemingly endless stream of data breaches, what can you do to protect yourself online? It can be a little daunting, especially when you consider how many websites you visit every day, but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself online.

First, keep your computer up to date. Microsoft and Apple both release security patches periodically, and they do this for a reason, to keep your computer protected. If your computer is protected, your personal data is too.

Second, use Firefox. Firefox is faster and lighter than Safari or Internet Explorer/Edge. Not only that, Mozilla, Firefox’s maker is committed to making the internet a safer place, championing issues like privacy, misinformation and trolling by investing in fellowships, campaigns and new technologies designed to make the internet healthier.

Once you’ve downloaded Firefox, download Privacy Badger and HTTPS Everywhere from the EFF.

Privacy Badger is a browser extension that blocks ads, and ad trackers on sites you visit in order to keep them from collecting data.

HTTPS Everywhere is an extension that forces your browser to encrypt data from websites, making it harder for it to be read if intercepted.

Use private browsing mode, or if you’re really worried about privacy, a VPN. Private browsing blocks sites from tracking you, stops your browser from remembering your history, blocks sites from storing cookies (a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing). A VPN enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. If you’re using public wi-fi, you should definitely use a VPN. If you are looking for a VPN, I recommend NordVPN.

One last thing you can do to protect your privacy is to be cautious about what data you give away. When signing up for web services, only give the data that is required, and only if you absolutely have to create an account to use the service. It would be easy to say not to give your information out, but that isn’t realistic. What is realistic is to be aware of what you are giving out, and make sure that you are comfortable with that information falling into the wrong hands.

This list isn’t the be all and end all list, but it’s a start to protect your data. Good luck!

If you have any questions beyond this list, send me an email, and we can build a plan to keep you, and your data, safe.